Did you know you can now legally climb, technical-style, in Harriman State Park?
You can. As of May 31 — and thanks to the efforts of the Torne Valley Climbers Coalition — climbing Harriman is legal, and the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission is allowing climbing in the Torne Valley section of the park. Climbing is NOT allowed in any other section of the park.
Where Are “The Powerlinez”?
GPS: approximately 41 8 29.6, -74 9 42.5 (to park)
Legal rock climbing, only 45 minutes New York City. Where’s this, you say? It’s the craggy area under the Ramapo Torne known also as Powerlinez. You may have seen it from I-287 as it you go whizzing by Suffern and the exit to Route 17, in Ramapo (Rockland County), NY. The Torne Valley is along the southern border of Harriman.
“I’m not going to call this spot scenic…The climbing was fun though. The rock is a heavily metamorphosed granitic gneiss which climbs like granite. There are lots of horizontal and vertical crack systems and the rock has good friction. The boulders below are beautiful and there’s quite a bit of exploring that can be done here.” — Ryan Stefiuk, Valley Vertical Adventures
Climbing Harriman: Do it Right, to Keep it Open
There are regulations around climbing Harriman’s Powerlinez, and I’m sure the Torne Valley Climbers would want you to know that the success and continued permission to use this area depends on complying with these regulations.
The area also needs to be kept pristine (or, as pristine as possible given the dumping of paint sludge).
So here are…
- You will need a (FREE!) technical rock climbing pass — a waiver — as proof of signed liability waiver that states you accept the risks. You can pick this up at The Gravity Vault, Rock and Snow, New Jersey Rock Gym, and other locations, and it’s good for a year.
- No bolts, pitons, chipping.
- Technical rock climbing will be permitted ONLY on the south and east ramparts of the Wrightman’s Plateau area of Harriman State Park, extending through the Con Edison easement to Torne Brook Road.
- Access to climbing Harriman’s Powerlinez is via a woods road off Torne Brook Road. Park on Torne Valley Road, just before you reach Torne Brooke Road. GPS: approximately GPS 41 8 29.6, -74 9 42.5. See our driving directions, below.
More Powerlinez Climbing Information
You’ll find all the information you need to climb Powerlinez at TorneValleyClimbing.com.
Pick up The Guide, too (“The Powerlines: Bouldering and Climbing”) by local climber and guide Jon Crefeld. You can get it at some of the local climbing gyms and gear shops, or order it online from the Coalition for $20.00 shipped (hope they’ll one day make it available as an e-book!). Also, if you’re really interested in the Powerlinez, join their Facebook group page.
You’ll find Gabriel Miani’s route map/picture post on the Powerlinez group page super-helpful as well.
Directions (parking at approximately GPS 41 8 29.6, -74 9 42.5:
1. Traveling north on I-87, take exit 15A for Suffern.
2. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp onto Route 59/Orange Turnpike. You’ll drive past an old iron train trestle bridge on the left, and then you’ll cross a green iron bridge.
3. Once over the bridge, keep an eye out for Route 95/Torne Valley Road , on the left. Take that left turn, and drive along 95/Torne Valley Road for about a mile.
4. JUST BEFORE you reach Torne Brook Road on the left, you will need to park along the left side of Torne Valley Road. There is a pull-out on the left, across from the big grassy hill on the right. Park just past the transformer box marked with a “W-4”. GPS 41 8 29.6, -74 9 42.5
5. You’ll walk briefly along Torne Valley Road until you reach Torne Brook Road; turn left. Almost immediately, and as soon as you cross the creek, you’ll see a stony pull-out (please don’t park here, as this could lead to revocation of all permission to climb) and small boulder on the right. Take the stony woods road leaving from the pullout. That’s the road up to the climbing area. Take the first left off this woods road, onto another, and soon the trees open up and you reach the glowering lower face of the big cliff. Continue along this woods road until you see a trail leading off into the oak and ash woods at the right. This leads to other climbing areas in the woods.